Fargo Shanley is bringing back its Randy Nelson Memorial Strike Out Cancer softball event this spring.
On Saturday, April 30, Shanley will host a round-robin softball tournament at Sid Cichy Stadium to honor the memory of Nelson—the school's former activities director, who passed away in 2014 after a battle with cancer.
The event will feature three games—Shanley vs. Kindred at 9 a.m., Kindred vs. Dakota Prairie at 11 a.m., and Shanley vs. Dakota Prairie at 1 p.m.—and will serve as a fundraiser for Lend A Hand—a program that helps local families with a medical crisis.
Last spring's inaugural event raised $1,500 for longtime softball umpire Kenton Cargile, who at the time was battling cancer. Cargile passed away in November of 2015.
"Last year we just did the event as a regular scheduled game with Davies, but we were hoping to turn it into an annual event and make it a little tournament so we could draw more people in and make it a bigger deal," said Shanley-Oak Grove-Park Christian softball head coach Chad Slyter said.
T-shirts and concessions will be available for purchase. Free-will donations will be accepted, and there will also be a softball-themed silent auction.
When it came to deciding where the proceeds of this spring's tournament would go, Dorian Nelson—Randy's wife—pledged the money would be given to Lend A Hand.
"The Lend-A-Hand Program helped their family quite a bit when Randy was going through his battle with cancer so his wife Dorian felt it was time to pay it forward back to them," Slyter said. "We are donating the proceeds of this event to Lend A Hand, and that money is going to be matched by the Dakota Medical Foundation. We are hoping for a big number."
In addition to being Shanley's AD, Nelson coached in the softball program for several seasons, including Slyter's first year as head coach in the spring of 2014.
Nelson's daughter Gabby—a freshman—plays on the Deacons softball team. Slyter said Nelson's legacy as a coach still lives on the program.
"One of the things we do when we break our huddle or team talks the team chant is 'Team Together' and that was started by Randy when he was my assistant my first year at Shanley," Slyter said. "He talked about the origin of that saying and how he used it with the teams he coached. He stressed keeping the team above the individual. It is neat to see that has carried over the last two seasons, and it is symbolic of Randy's presence still in our program."
Shanley-OG-PC (10-1, 4-0 EDC) is tied for first place in the EDC standings with Fargo Davies and West Fargo.
The Deacons have four players—senior Lauren Rotunda, junior Taylor Erholtz, sophomore Ingrid Swanson and freshman Elena Linster—with a batting average of .500 or better.